Humans Are not the only Animals of Note

I’m tired of talking about humans, so I thought I’d talk about other species this week. And pardon me if I’ve already posted about these books. I don’t think I have, but they have been out for a few years. I’ve always been an animal lover, even having gotten over my primal fear of snakes after seeing them so frequently in our barn when we lived in Maryland. Most rodents do have their cute points. I mean, who doesn’t think rabbits are cute? Or squirrels with their impish natures.

A neighbor’s oldest child was always fond of our horses and I remember once she asked me if I could choose only one animal what would it be? I think she assumed it would be a horse and looked a bit crestfallen when I said a dog. At the time we had three horses, a dog, and a cat. Still, there is something regal and awkwardly graceful about a giraffe and certainly, lions are indeed imperious, but one can always cuddle with a dog.

First, we’re vising Nepal to learn some customs and meet a cute dog.

Take Me with You!

A Dog Named Haku: A Holiday Story from Nepal

Margarita Engle, Amish Karanjit, Nicole Karanjit

Illustrated by Ruth Jeyaveeran

Written by the Poetry Foundation’s Young People’s Poet Laureate, this story tells of a Nepalese holiday to honor animals. But this particular year, the Nepalese decided to honor the service dogs that had hunted through the rubble caused by a massive earthquake. Young Alu and Bhalu hunt for a stray dog to feed, finally finding a black puppy to take home. They feed their mother’s festival treats to the dog and everybody ends up happy. The tale is simply told and introduces the reader to Nepalese customs, especially through the lovely illustrations of typical rice paintings. Teachers might use the rice paintings as a way to understand another culture and how to paint with unusual substances. The book is also, in general, a good lead in discussing other cultures’ customs. A glossary at the end explains Nepalese words used in the story, such as the children’s names. The puppy is named Haku, which means black. And other activities featured during the festival are shown.

BIBLIO: 2018, Millbrook Press/Lerner Publishing Group, Inc., Ages 5 to 9, $19.99.

REVIEWER: Sarah Maury Swan

FORMAT: Picture Book

ISBN: 978-1-5124-3205-3

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Don’t you just love to watch the way giraffes seem to float along the ground leading with their long necks. I believe they have somewhat prehensile purple tongues.

Wanna See my Tongue?

Giraffes

Valerie Bodden

What fun to read about interesting animals and look at excellent photos of them. That’s what this series of books, “Amazing Animals”, tells the reader about. This particular book is about giraffes with lots of fascinating facts. The reader might have guessed that giraffes are the tallest land animal, measuring between but might not know that they have the longest tail of any land animal and an enormous blue-black tongue that they use to rip leaves off of trees. Or that they are so tall they could look into the second story window in a house. The photographs in the books are clear and beautiful, making the reader want to linger over each shot.  The books in this series have some words in bold type to let the reader know a definition of the word is at the bottom of the page. Each book in the series has a short tale at the back. The giraffe’s story is why he ended up with such a long neck.

BIBLIO: 2020, Creative Education/Creative Company, Ages 6 +, $20.95.

REVIEWER: Sarah Maury Swan

FORMAT: Nonfiction Picture Book

ISBN: 978-1-64026-203-4

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One of my favorite jokes is: King Lion awakes from his comfortable bed at the edge of the jungle feeling quite refreshed and arrogant. He marches out onto the plain and spies an elephant. The lion grabs the elephant by its trunk, swirls the poor animal over his head, slams him onto the ground. “Who’s the King of the Jungle?” he roars. The elephant scrambles to his feet and, with a shaky voice says, “Why you are, sir.” Lion beats all the animals into submission and they all agree that Lion is indeed king.
That is until he grabs a little field mouse. He beats the mouse to a pulp almost taking off the poor creature’s left ear. “Who’s the king of the jungle?” Lion roars again.

The mouse shakes herself, scrambles to her feet says, “Yeah, but I’ve been sick.” Most people don’t understand the joke, but I just love the mouse’s moxy. Still, there is something so commanding in a lion’s demeanor, that they probably are considered the rulers of the jungle.

King of the Jungle?

Lions

Valerie Bodden

What fun to read about interesting animals and look at excellent photos of them. That’s what this series of books, “Amazing Animals”, tells the reader about. This particular book is about lions with lots of fascinating facts. Lions are the second-largest cat in the world. The male may be the king and be the first to get his share but he expects the female to do the hunting.  The photographs in the books are clear and beautiful, making the reader want to linger over each shot.  The books in this series have some words in bold type to let the reader know a definition of the word is at the bottom of the page. Each book in the series has a short tale at the back. The lion’s story is why he ended up being the king of all animals. Teachers can do a lot with this series, from learning the facts to helping their students make up stories.

BIBLIO: 2020, Creative Education/Creative Company, Ages 6 +, $20.95.

REVIEWER: Sarah Maury Swan

FORMAT: Nonfiction Picture Book

ISBN: 978-1-64026-206-5

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Until next week, the last week in February already, hope you read and/or write amazing stories. Please share those with me if you like.

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